Sightseeing Bus

Sightseeing Bus License Application Checklist

Who Must Have a Sightseeing Bus License?

You must have a Sightseeing Bus license to operate a vehicle that carries eight or more paying passengers to places of interest or amusement or for a specific or special trip from a starting point within New York City.

This description is only a general explanation of who must have a Sightseeing Bus license.

Quick List of Requirements to Apply for a Sightseeing Bus License

See Requirements section for detailed descriptions. Make sure you provide all requirements; otherwise, your application is incomplete. DCA can only consider complete applications for license issuance.

  • Basic License Application
  • Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection
  • Copy of New York State Department of Transportation or New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Inspection Certificate for Each Bus Listed on Roster
  • Copy of Current State Department of Motor Vehicles Registration for Each Bus Listed on Roster
  • Rate Schedule
  • Sightseeing Bus – United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Engine Conformity Affirmation
  • Copy of USEPA Certificate of Conformity and Original Letter from Manufacturer for Each Sightseeing Bus Engine
  • Local Law 41: DEP Monthly Reporting Form
  • Sightseeing Bus Company Compliance Affirmation
  • Sightseeing Bus – Bus Stop Affirmation
  • Copy of each New York City Department of Transportation Authorized Sightseeing Bus Stop Permit (if applicable)
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
  • Inspection of Your Sightseeing Buses
  • License Fee
Submitting your application does not mean your license is automatically approved.

Additional City or State Permits/Licenses/Clearances You May Need

Individuals must have a Sightseeing Guide license to guide or direct people to any place or point of public interest.

This is not meant to be a complete list. See Additional Resources section.

Important Message about Business Certificate

You must have the applicable Business Certificate based on your business’s legal structure. Although DCA does not require submission of your Business Certificate in order to process your application, DCA may request this document under section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Sole proprietors operating under a name other than your own must have a Business/Assumed Name Certificate.

Partnerships must have a Partnership Certificate and, if applicable, an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.

Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Division of Corporations. You can check your status at www.dos.ny.gov/corps.

Requirements

DCA will deny your application if you do not submit these required documents and information:

  • Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection.
    Applicants must provide identifying information for each bus owned by the business on the Roster. DCA will inspect your open-air sightseeing buses to make sure they have a headphone-limited sound reproduction system.
  • Copy of New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) or New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV) Inspection Certificate for Each Bus Listed on Roster..
    The Inspection Certificate must indicate either:

    1. that each bus on your Roster passed inspection by DOT within the last six months; OR
    2. (if DOT determines that a DOT inspection is not required) that each bus on your Roster passed inspection by DMV within the last year.

    To arrange for the necessary inspection(s), contact:

  • Your bus(es) must pass a safety inspection before a license can be issued.

  • Copy of Current State Department of Motor Vehicles Registration for Each Bus Listed on Roster.
  • Rate Schedule.
    Submit a Rate Schedule on your business letterhead listing all charges for sightseeing bus services. Note that rates not included on the schedule may not be charged at a future date. To change rates after filing this application, you must notify DCA in writing.
  • Copy of USEPA Certificate of Conformity and Original Letter from Manufacturer for Each Sightseeing Bus Engine.
  • Copy of Each NYC DOT Authorized Sightseeing Bus Stop Permit (if applicable).
    For questions about permits, contact the NYC DOT General Permits Office at (646) 892-1242.
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation, if applicable.
    Required if someone other than the license applicant will prepare and submit this application.

    Note: The applicant must sign the license application and all related forms.
  • Inspection of Your Sightseeing Buses.
    DCA will contact you to schedule an appointment to inspect all sightseeing buses before your business can operate. Note: All sightseeing buses listed on your Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection must be present at the time of the inspection.
  • License Fee.

    License Period: 2 years; Expiration Date: March 31 (Even Years). See table for License Fee options.

    If You File Your Application Between These Dates: License Fee Option 1 License Fee Option 2
    From April 1 in an even year to September 30 in an even year Pay $100 for a license expiring March 31 of the next even year. (Valid for at most 24 months.) N/A
    From October 1 in an even year to March 31 in an odd year Pay $75 for a license expiring March 31 of the following year. (Valid for at most 18 months.) N/A
    From April 1 in an odd year to September 30 in an odd year Pay $50 for a license expiring March 31 of the soonest even year. (Valid for at most 12 months.) N/A
    From October 1 in an odd year to March 31 in an even year Pay $25 for a license expiring March 31 of the same even year. (Valid for at most 6 months.) Pay $125 for a license expiring March 31 of the next even year. (Valid for at most 30 months.)

    Pay by:
    • Check or money order payable to DCA. (In person)
    • Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card only). You will be charged a nonrefundable Convenience Fee. (In person or online)

    Application Filing Process

    File in person
    File in person at the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center.
    DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) LICENSING CENTER
    42 Broadway, Lobby
    New York, NY 10004
    Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
    Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
    NYC SMALL BUSINESS
    SUPPORT CENTER

    90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor
    Jamaica, NY 11435
    Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

    Free Interpretation Services are available on-site. To request a disability-related accommodation, please call DCA’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at (212) 436-0199 or visit our Accommodations page.

    OR

    File Online
    1. Review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below to submit your application online using a laptop or desktop computer.
    2. If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
    3. After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
    4. Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCA License page to read requirements and proceed to the online application.



    Additional Resources for Sightseeing Bus

    • Licensed sightseeing buses must be inspected at least once every four months.
      By law, DCA must inspect all licensed sightseeing buses. DCA will contact you by email to schedule an appointment. If you fail to produce all of your licensed sightseeing buses for inspection, your company’s Sightseeing Bus License may be subject to revocation or suspension. Please contact the Business Compliance Counsel with any questions about DCA’s inspection process.
    • Sightseeing Bus Accident and/or Driver Offense Report
      • You must submit this report within three (3) business days of any sightseeing bus accident or traffic violation that could be the basis for an assignment of points.
      • You must also submit this report as soon as practicable if any driver employed by you is charged with any alcohol or drug-related offense or any criminal offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle.
    • For the laws and rules that may affect your business, visit visit our Laws page.

    • Read Inspection Checklist: Sightseeing Bus.

    • If you have a question about a DCA violation or the laws that DCA enforces, you can speak with DCA's Business Compliance Counsel. Call 311 for the Legal Compliance Helpline for Businesses or email BCC@dca.nyc.gov.

    • For resources to help your business open, operate, and grow, visit nyc.gov/business.


    • Get Voter Information
      Note: Whether you apply to register to vote or not, it will not affect the assistance DCA will provide to you.


      Page updated 04/2020